My car is almost 20 years old and has 231,000 miles on it.  I bought it from a very generous friend many years ago for $800, and it has been affectionately kept.  It kept itself together through graduate school, and is now—when I have more time and money to spend on it—falling apart.  Every system that involves fluid is leaking / failing, and the Check Engine light is constantly on, for no apparent reason, except to show that there’s some amount of distress somewhere.  Referred pain kind of thing, I think.  Anyways, after fixing the gas leak, and managing the oil leak, the coolant leak turned from manageable to horrendous, and I took it into the shop this morning.  So, I’m not at work this morning.  I’m afoot, stopped at the coffeeshop about a half mile from the Auto Technicians, and will begin the two mile rain-jacketed and -booted walk home after another hour or so.

I picked up Leaves of Grass over the weekend, trying to find the passage where Whitman reverences old women, and mothers with children (baby fever not gone yet), and basically sat at the kitchen table and cried over these poems, all of them.  How I have loved Song of the Open Road (infinitely, infinitely more sublime than anything Kerouac ever thought/wrote), Leaves of Grass, I Sing the Body Electric, Miracles— but haven’t re-read any of these poems in what might be two years.  I ate and drank Whitman as a teenager, and reading these poems I have loved is so terribly evocative.  How I was such a different person then, yet am still, still the same person today.  Difficult to explain, or understand.

I remembered Whitman because today I am afoot and light-hearted, and take to the open road.  Walking in this age of cars is an enormous endeavor, and it changes me a little every time I leave my car behind.

So— this unexpected day off of farm-work is disruptive, and I’m grateful for the surprise (however mild) that change of routine brings.  I’m even—a couple hours later—a little grateful for the surprise of being cat-called on my way to the Old City.  Remark about my skirt.  Didn’t acknowledge.  But it’s different, and I can accept the things that follow from walking in places I don’t usually walk, being in new places.

Speaking of being in new places, I’m also experiencing not-trying-not-to-get-pregnant for the first time.  (I figure I’ve told most everyone about this already, so it’s not like I’m divulging family secrets or anything.)  This is an arena of both excitement and dread, since I want to get pregnant, and may want it too much.  Since my ovarian cancer surgery, years ago, I’ve known there’s a chance my fertility has been reduced by a significant margin (20%, they said), and that the possibility of  tumor recurrence (and, therefore, loss of only remaining ovary, at least) slowly increases as I get older.  There are no real reasons I should have trouble conceiving, but these thoughts are always, always with me.  I’ve been trying to prepare myself mentally for infertility / childlessness for five years.  And as we toss out birth control and wonder what will happen, I find myself obsessing about things like waking temperatures, luteal phases, etc.  And I do mean obsessing.  Being much too disappointed when it’s clear we didn’t conceive last month.  Spending lots of time thinking of all the things that could be wrong with me.  It’s got, as Marshall says, to stop.

But I can appreciate this new set of experiences.  I’m taking another risk, another chance I’ll be disappointed, and am widening my range of experience.  My life is still getting bigger—and that is SO what I want.  Shifting from graduate school, which helped me take my writing seriously, and to envision (if dimly) a place in the world for it, to The Next Thing (which so far involves farm work and quilt-making and a social life)— this shift is disruptive, I’m recalculating everything again, and I’m taking the surprises as they come.  Right.  Now I see I have brought this post “full circle,” and can say one more poignant thing and sign off, haha.  Oh man.  Ha.  Well: I’ve been SO in the mood for Edward Gorey, lately.  Something gothic and cross-hatched and tragicomic.  Ooh, Amazon.

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